With its much-ballyhooed 6 teraflops of processing power, Microsoft’s Xbox Scorpio is expected to be the most powerful games console ever built when it releases next year. Naturally, that means it’s going to be pretty expensive, but in an interview with a NZ Gamer last week, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer implied that gamers shouldn’t fret too much over Scorpio’s price tag.
“I think you will feel like it’s a premium product, a premium console,” Spencer admitted before attempting to assuage pricing concerns a bit. “And not something, anything more than that. So I wouldn’t get people worried that this thing is going to be unlike any console price you’ve ever seen. We didn’t design it that way.”
Spencer also said that Microsoft designed the Scorpio almost “in parallel” with the Xbox One S, which he claimed allowed the company to set a baseline of which to consider the price versus performance of Scorpio against. The result of this, he said, will be “a good price continuum” between the new products.
“That said, the opening price point for the Xbox One S, and the different hard drive sizes, that is a critical part of this whole product,” Spencer continued. “When I think about it as a product line, you should expect the pricing to kind of be in line with that.”
The Xbox One S debuted in August at $299, $349, and $399 for the 500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB editions, respectively. During the interview, Spencer took the opportunity to promote the 4K Blu-ray player and 4K streaming video that Microsoft was able to pack into the S at those price points. The Xbox boss believes that makes the S alluring for “price-conscious, value-conscious customers.”
Meanwhile, he understands that the more discerning gamer is likely to wait for the Scorpio. Spencer said that this type of hard core gamer is “looking for the best price and performance, and that what’s we designed Scorpio for.”
The market has shown in the past that even most core console gamers will be put off by an overly expensive piece of hardware, even if it is the most powerful console around. For proof, look no further than Sony’s $499 – $599 PlayStation 3 launch prices. Those MSRPs were high enough to let Microsoft steal the market share lead away from Sony, inspire a wave of memes, and cause a former Sony exec to admit the console did not have a “consumer-friendly” price.
Sony will soon release its own high-end games console, the PlayStation 4 Pro, at $399. With Microsoft not planning to release the even-more-powerful Scorpio until 2017, it’s unlikely the company will announce the system’s exact price any time soon.